17 October 2010

In Uniform

Chester T. Raymo, Arthur J. Raymo and Roger D. Raymo in their Army ROTC uniforms. Presumably, they were all in the Rocky Top Battalion at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Chattanooga, 1930

09 October 2010

The Old Seat

When this 1929 photograph of Arthur J. Raymo came across the scanner, I recognized the footbridge in the background having seen it before. In his mother's photographs from 1905 there is an image of the same bridge.

This 1905 photograph was taken on Arthur E. Raymo and Margaret A. Merrow's honeymoon trip to Niagara Falls. After a google search turned up a vintage postcard of the same view, I could confirm it was a footbridge over the Niagara River to the Three Sisters Islands. I can find no contemporary photographs of the bridge so my assumption is it no longer stands.

What I find interesting here is that in a 1923 letter Arthur E. Raymo sent his wife Margaret while on a business trip to the Niagara area, he wrote:

My Dearest Wife and all - I have sure had some go today. Early this AM for walk to place above fall where we sat, the morning after we were married, think I was at the same old seat.
It seems plausible that in 1929, while on their road trip north, the widow Margaret brought her four children back to "the same old seat" that her and Arthur both had fond romantic memories of.

06 October 2010


The 76 year old Emma (Handeyside) Raymo and two of her great-grandchildren, Janice Bills and Ann Bills
Wayne, 1929

Next up: The old seat

03 October 2010

Marion and Arthur

My next task after identifying the Bills' children is to see if I could find their parents, Marion Raymo (1898-1953) and Arthur H. Bills (1898-1966) in Charlotte's photographs. In the same batch of 1929 negatives was this photograph:

The woman with the three Bills' children must be Marion. Despite the blurriness of the image, I remembered seeing that distinctive face before. Going back through my earlier scans, I found what I was looking for, from 1925.

Marion Raymo and Arthur H. Bills
with daughters Ann Bills (aged 3) and Janice Bills (aged 2)

Next up: Great-grandmother

02 October 2010

Detective Work

As I've explored my family history I've found that genealogical research involves quite a lot of detective work. Not just combing through years of census records, searching through microfilm and delving into the stacks at the genealogical library, but also piecing together lives from the old photographs in Charlotte's collection.

I have been scanning hundreds and hundreds of photographs from the original medium format film negatives. Charlotte had them organized in envelopes, labeled by year, but apart from that I have no other information on most of them. I have to infer a lot from the date and the context of similarly aged negatives.

An example of one of these puzzles, recently on the scanner...

Who are the three young children seated with Charlotte in this 1929 photograph? It is clear for the other photographs in the 1929 envelope that sometime that year, Margaret and her four children went on a road trip in their new car. It appears they visited Wayne, Toronto and Niagara Falls, so it seems very likely that these children are some of Charlotte's relatives back in Wayne, Michigan.

By looking through the 1930 census records for Wayne, Michigan for all the Raymo descendants, I find a likely candidate family.

Marion (Raymo) Bills was the daughter of Ralph Raymo and Fannie Norris. Marion was Charlotte's first cousin. Her three children, Ann, Janice and Robert would be aged about 7, 5 and 2 respectively in 1929. This seems to be a excellent match for the children in the photograph.

Can I find more evidence to support this hypothesis? I then remembered, thanks to Susan, I had a Charlotte photograph album from 1960 that had (labeled) photographs of the grown up Bills children.

Robert Bills and his wife Marjorie, Janice McIntyre and Ann Koch
Wayne, 1960

Yep! It's them, thirty one years later, with almost the same facial expressions!

Next up...finding Marion Raymo and Arthur Bills.